I have taken my talents back to New Albany. Like Lebron James, my career path led me back to my hometown. Unlike him, however, my decision wasn't really by choice at all, but more a culmination of external factors that completely changed the trajectory of my life. For the better.
Graduate school seemed like the natural next step. I had this glorified vision that after I graduated from Furman, I'd move out west, get accepted into whatever program I applied for, and go on to get my dream job and live my dream life. Sounds like the plans of a large majority of my peers. For many, their plans panned out, and I commend them. But my circumstances are much more common – dashed hopes and unaccomplished goals are the harsh reality. And nobody tells you about this, probably because words can't convey it. Maybe it's a rite of passage to come to that realization only through experience. It's funny now to look back on that season of life and scoff at the naïvety in those plans. Fresh out of school, the mind is filled with ideas and ways to change the world. I could've flown around the world and back again with the amount of air under my wings. Instead, I took off and fell flat on my face. And nobody tells you about this.
So here I am, no direction, no prospects, living at home. I'm a leech, sucking every good thing from those that love and care about me, taking advantage of their love. I'm a burden weighing down the shoulders of everyone around me. And nobody tells you about this.
But I'm a big believer in timing, and that you're exactly where you're meant to be. In the midst of my wallowing and self pity, it was impossible for me to see through the immense fog that so clouded my judgement. But even enlightenment chooses its time.
Some time ago, I opened a fortune cookie that said, "Time heals all wounds. Keep your chin up." Andy Stanley, a senior pastor, author, and father in Atlanta, Georgia, said in one of his sermons, "Time...is...your...friend." When that fog finally lifted, I could see how perfectly my life has panned out, and I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be. My decision, or rather the opportunity life has presented to me, faith, and perspective have led me to some realizations. As an entrepreneur, recognizing these things within your own situation can lead you to make better decisions.
1. Accept Help: I haven't accomplished anything by myself. Success has come from my reliance on other people. One of my greatest sources of guilt – depending on my parents – shouldn't yield guilt at all. Both of them have expressed their eagerness to aid me during this time in my life. They are setting me up for future success. Their support right now is buying me time. Instead of spending my paycheck on rent and groceries and bills, I can put that money away. Instead of taking the first job that will secure a paycheck, I can go after my dream job.
2. Welcome Adversity: If I didn't face trials, I wouldn't develop perseverance. I wouldn't know how to solve problems when they inevitably arrive. I wouldn't recognize my own strength.
3. With Time Arises Value Recognition: I plummeted down a spiral of depression. I didn't understand my self worth. But time conceived growth and maturity, which gave birth to recognition and implementation of my values. Not rushing into major decisions has taught me what I actually want out of life, because what I want today isn't necessarily what I want one month, one year, ten years from now.
4. In Every Situation Comes Opportunity: Ending up back home was the last thing I wanted. Or so I thought. But with the revitalization of the downtown area, the statewide focus on innovation, and the resources springing up for entrepreneurs, I see the opportunity to take ownership in the community I care so much about. Not many people have the chance to be a catalyst in a movement or affect change for a cause bigger than one individual.
Like Lebron, I am in a building phase. I have a team around me, I have the tools, I've made the preparations, and enough time has passed. I just have to have the patience and the motivation to get my championship ring.
And nobody tells you about this.